Morning Music: Silly Symphony

The Wise Little HenThis is a special edition of Anniversaries and Morning Music. Back in 1934, Donald Duck made his screen debut in the Silly Symphony short, The Wise Little Hen. It is based on “The Little Red Hen” — you know: “Who will help me bake the bread?” But in this case it is all about corn, “Will you help me plant the corn?! Will you help me plant the corn?!” It is an annoyingly catchy tune!

One thing that’s interesting here is that Donald Duck shows up pretty much exactly as he later is. Compare this to Daffy Duck and Bugs Bunny, who are almost unrecognizable. This may be why the Warner Bros Cartoons were so much better: they were constantly tinkering with things. Also, of course: Disney was so committed to a moralistic approach to its content. Growing up watching only Disney cartoons, you would conclude that the worst sin is to spend your time singing and dancing.

But I find this particular cartoon charming. It has a number of clever visual gags. And like I said, the song is catchy. I’ll bet you will be singing it all day!

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